On Wednesday, the 3rd day of Hanukkah, the fifth grade class piled into what they affectionately call ‘The Teva Bus’ to take a short ride to the Miriam Hospital. There, they sang songs for the staff and visitors, and people stopped and listened to them as they were going about their hospital business. After their performance, which was applauded and appreciated, they then visited one of the hospital units housing patients who are living with cancer. Having previously made cards to hand out to patients, the students went in pairs to visit the different rooms; in some, they sang and in others, they just talked and wished the patients and family members well. One woman commented, “I’m about to go home soon and your visit will speed up my recovery even more!”
Another said, “You are doing God’s work.” As part of the preparation for this visit, Rabbi Gouze spent time talking with the students about the importance of Bikkur Holim, (visiting the sick). The students showed a deep understanding of the need for connection, for feeling links to the community and for patients to be treated like normal human beings despite their being sick and separated from their daily routines and normal lives. The trip was meaningful and the students were able to see how their visit and time spent with the patients was very much appreciated by both staff and patients. It brought meaning to the value of Bikkur Holim and the reason why Judaism views it as such an important part of living in an ethical manner.
Below is a link to a video of the students singing in the lobby.